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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

212                                  Law
in determining the judgement of the court, but without
them no action could be brought. They were present at the
sitting and supervised the execution of the judgement. The
Ptolemies further had to define the extent of the jurisdiction
of the different courts of law. For actions between Greeks
there were Greek courts in the Greek towns and special itinerant
courts in the country. Egyptians came before the Egyptian
courts. For actions between Greeks and Egyptians at first a
'joint court of law' was instituted. Later it depended upon
whether the documents upon which the plaintiff sought to rely
were written in Greek or in Egyptian, the corresponding court
having jurisdiction to try the action. Special courts in which
special officials, mostly Greek, acted as judges were established for
all matters which in any way were connected with public revenue.
It was not too easy to initiate an action. Application had to
be made, by way of petition, to a high official (the petition
being often addressed to the king in person). That official in
the first instance, either himself or through a lower official, tried
to bring about a settlement, and only if those efforts were un-
successful did he hand over the case to the courts for a decision.
This procedure was based on the Egyptian conception that
settlement is better than judgement, an idea which was quite
contrary to the Roman procedure of the same time, which
aimed at a quick decision.
So far as our present knowledge goes, the Ptolemies do not
appear to have interfered to any great extent with the private
law of the Egyptian people. Criminal law had, it seems, become
slightly more humane in the course of time.
Roman and Byzantine Period (30 B.C.—AJ). 640)
Even the conquest of Egypt by Augustus did not at once
bring with it a complete change.  The Romans were far from
forcing the law of the city of Rome—the 'classical' Roman law
—upon a conquered country, and so the number of legal systems